Just to the west of Rijeka, the Opatija Riviera (Opatijska rivijera) is a 20km stretch of sedate seaside resorts lining the western side of the Kvarner Gulf. Protected from strong winds by the ridge of Mount Učka, this stretch of coast became the favoured winter retreat of the Viennese upper classes in the years prior to World War I. At the centre of the Riviera is the town of Opatija, whose nineteenth-century popularity made it the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s answer to the Côte d’Azur. The Habsburg ambience survives in some attractive fin-de-siècle architecture, the best of which is in the dainty town of Lovran, just southwest of Opatija. There’s an abundance of good accommodation throughout the Riviera, although private rooms and pensions tend to be cheaper in Lovran than in Opatija.

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